DEAR MISS MANNERS: A lady and I made contact on an Internet dating site. My potential date and I exchanged 51 messages in two weeks with the conversation getting better and better as we got to know one another. After a typical message from me, suddenly there is nothing more from her.
After a couple days, I wrote to ask whether anything was wrong, but there is no reply. I still see her popping up regularly on a chat, so she is apparently alive and fine, but no, can't be bothered to issue even the slightest note message. Question is, am I owed any explanation?
GENTLE READER: Here are some explanations:
She told her husband she'd fallen in love with someone on the Internet, and after a huge fight, they reconciled and she agreed not to write to you again.
She is really a sixty-five year old man who has just retired and wants to write that novel he's always been talking about, so he's collecting material from lots of different people.
She met someone in the flesh.
Like any of these? Miss Manners thought not.
The comfort she wishes to offer you, such as it is, is that you really know nothing about this lady's life, and it is highly likely that her reason for breaking off your correspondence had nothing to do with you, and involves matters she has no wish to confide. And if it does have to do with you, any explanation will be even less pleasant. Miss Manners recommends moving on.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am literally addicted to video games. I believe that if I had not given them up, I would have been fired. I gave myself carpal tunnel and have had to get rid of my CD-Rom so that I cannot have them in my apartment.
My best friend knows that I have cut out all video games, and yet he not only insists on giving me the games, he gave me his old computer because I told him I no longer have a CD-Rom. He is quite adamant about asking me about games. Contrary to your advice (before it was given), I made him promise not to give me any more games, because I just couldn't have them around. He promised, but still gives me games.
I am sure if I were an alcoholic he would not ignore my wishes, and this isn't as serious as a chemical addiction, but it is a real issue and I don't know what to do. I literally used to play for 12 hours a day. I just cannot have them around.
GENTLE READER: And you want this person around? Funny, Miss Manners has no trouble at all picturing him urging drinks on a friend he knows to be fighting alcoholism.
The usual rule against rejecting a present does not quite apply here. Where there is an assumption of good will, an unfortunate present should be disposed of quietly, without embarrassing the giver. But your best friend is not erring from ignorance: You have confided your weakness, and he is taunting you.
So this is a special case. Miss Manners still expects you to thank him, but you may do so stiffly, and you may add, "I'm delighted to be able to please others by passing these on. As you know, I can't have them around, and someone might as well enjoy them."